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Register a Foreign Nonprofit in California

To register a foreign nonprofit in the State of California, you must file a Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation with the California Secretary of State, Business Programs Division . You can submit this document in duplicate by mail or in person with a certificate of good standing. This year is a great time to register your foreign nonprofit in California because the state recently dropped its standard filing fee to $0, down from the ordinary $30, and this will last until June 30, 2023.

Below, we cover the most frequently asked questions about registering a foreign nonprofit in California. Or, you can simply sign up for our California Foreign Nonprofit service, and we’ll take care of your registration ourselves!

Free PDF Download

Download the California Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation. Fill out the form and submit it to the state.

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Our free account and tools will walk you through registering your Foreign Nonprofit in California. All for free.

California Foreign Nonprofit

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Free Guide to Registering a Foreign Nonprofit in California

How do I qualify my foreign nonprofit corporation in California?

To qualify an out-of-state nonprofit, you file the Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation (Form S&DC-S/N) with the California Secretary of State, Business Programs Division. Deliver it in duplicate by mail or in person with a certificate of good standing and the filing fee.

What is the cost to register a foreign nonprofit in California?

The filing fee is currently $0 for foreign nonprofits (down from $30 until June 30, 2023). However, California also requires foreign nonprofits to submit an Initial Statement of Information within 90 days of registering with the state, and this comes with an additional $20 fee.

How long does it take for California to process my foreign qualification?

California is currently processing filings for foreign nonprofits in around 30 business days, but the state offers several options to speed up the process:

  1. Hand deliver your documents to the CA Secretary of State’s California office, pay a $15 counter drop-off fee, and get your application prioritized over documents sent through the mail. Currently, this option will speed your processing time up to around 12 business days.
  2. Hand deliver your documents to the CA Secretary of State and pay one of the exorbitant expedite fees. You can get your application processed in 24 hours for an additional $350 and on the same day for $750. These expedite fees are in addition to the state’s other filing fees, but, fortunately, the state doesn’t charge the $15 counter drop-off fee if your nonprofit opts for one of the more expensive expedited options.

You can also hire a filing service (like Northwest!) to register your California foreign nonprofit. When you hire Northwest, we’ll file your Initial Statement of Information alongside Form S&DC-S/N, and we charge a total of $245 for 30-day processing and $595 for expedited, 2-day processing. Both options include a full year of our registered agent service, loads of cool nonprofit templates and forms, and the assistance of our expert Corporate Guides.

Do I need a Certificate of Good Standing and if so, how current does it need to be?

Yes, you’ll need to include a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state with your foreign qualification paperwork. It has to be less than six months old.

Will I need a California Registered Agent for my foreign nonprofit?

Yes. You must designate an agent for service of process. If you hire Northwest as your California registered agent, you will have an online account with the correct form to file already populated with our info. You also get annual report reminders and all documents that we receive for you will be uploaded for you to view immediately.

Does the California registered agent have to sign my foreign qualification?


How will California return my processed filing?

Once your foreign nonprofit is authorized, California will mail you a Certificate of Qualification.

Are there any weird things about registering in California?

California has pretty high annual franchise tax, so don’t forget to apply for tax-exempt status with the California Franchise Tax Board. See our California Tax Exemption page.

Are there any annual report requirements for foreign nonprofits in California?

Yes, you will file a Statement of Information (Form SI-350) with the Secretary of State within 90 days after filing your qualification paperwork, and then every other year after that. You’ll file your foreign nonprofit’s Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State Document Filing Support Unit  at P.O. Box 944260 Sacramento, CA 94244-2600 Ph:  (916) 657-5448

Why us?

Our CA registered agent service will be the most comprehensive nonprofit registered agent service you will find. When you hire us as your registered agent, we not only monitor your California Secretary of State requirements, we send you filing reminders for tax exempt status, and charity fundraising registrations. This combined with you instantly having the forms in your online account you’ll need to register and maintain registrations with all these agencies, and you’ll see why we’re not an expense… We’re your favorite vendor! We’re a crucial part of your CA nonprofits compliance maintenance. California nonprofit directors and members change frequently. With us as your CA agent, you’ll have one spot to look for corporate paperwork and contact details for your California nonprofit. We make forming and maintaining a California nonprofit easier.

Nonprofit resources

California nonprofit
Registered agents in California
California charity registration
California tax exemption

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